IndyCar AeroKit Testing and Sandbagging

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The first day of testing at Barber Motorsport Park is officially over.  It’s a day that fans have been waiting for with anticipation, to see how the new Chevy and Honda aerokits would perform.  After a long 7 month winter hiatus, the IndyCar Series got a much needed shot in the arm by opening the rule book up and allowing manufacturers to design aerokits to the DW12 chassis.  The aerokits have already added a new level of excitement this year to IndyCar, as fans have been voicing their opinion on which car looks better.  The one question that remained was which car would run faster.

This is how things looked at the end of day 1 practice with Chevy taking the top spots but the aerokit testing hastest introduced a new phrase to IndyCar; sandbagging.  The definition of sandbagging is to hide your true abilities or purpose in order to deceive people, gain an advantage over another.  There was not a blistering, eye catching lap during day one of testing.  Leading up to the test, those in the know have made statements that the new aerokits could equal 2 seconds faster than the original DW12.  The Barber track record for IndyCar is 1:06:775 by Scott Dixon and as you can see, today’s fast lap was .7 seconds slower.  Does that mean the kits didn’t deliver as expected?  Absolutely not!

This test was more about feeling the car out, learning as much as you can about the new kits, trying different configurations, all while not showing what you really have i.e. sandbagging.  For many teams, this was the first time they had a chance to drive the new aerokit as Penske/Ganassi did the testing to develop Chevy’s kit and Andretti did the same for Honda.  The engineers will be pouring over the data all night to see what minor and major changes did to the overall times, corner times, handling, etc.

I would expect more of the same for day 2 testing but watch out for the first race of the season at St. Petersburg.  Teams will have had plenty of time to test, pour over the data and then we will finally know where each manufacturer stands.  Did Chevy produce the better design or did Honda?  Even though the two manufacturers look different, could it produce equal gains so that neither one has a distinct advantage?  If you watched the snoozer opening race of F1, it only confirms that IndyCar has the best racing in the world!   Let’s enjoy the sandbagging for now and watch the games unfold during the season.  Tweet or facebook Open Wheels and tell us if Honda or Chevy is better.

Tony Tellez

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